Multidisciplinary Oncology in Medical Practice Conference 2022

Correlates of fear of cancer progression during COVID-19 in Romania
Csaba László Dégi, Éva Kállay & Flavia Medrea
Universitatea Babeș Bolyai #CANPRIM

Project number PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2019-0097

Fear of cancer progression (FCP) is a normal response to an oncological diagnosis, being one of the patients’ greatest concerns and one of the most reported unmet needs. However, higher levels of FCP can negatively affect a patient’s quality of life, impairing physical, emotional, social, and functional well-being. The Romanian health system has difficulties in offering qualitative psychosocial care for cancer outpatients. The Covid-19 pandemic restrictions can further affect the fear and anxiety associated with cancer, therefore it is essential to understand the negative psychosocial impact of the pandemic context. The present study investigates correlates of FCP in 330 Romanian cancer outpatients assessed during 2020-2021. Results showed differences in the assessed variables depending on gender (women had scores significantly higher than men regarding FCP and illness intrusiveness) and marital status. Moreover, using a hierarchical regression model, we identified three statistically significant predictors of FCP: gender, illness intrusiveness regarding relationships, and anxiety, together explaining 38.2% of the variance in global FCP scores. Anxiety was the most important predictor of FCP, explaining 21.3% of the variance in the FCP scores, 5 times more than gender and almost 2 times more than illness intrusiveness in interpersonal relationships. Therefore, cancer is a comprehensive experience, impacted by both socio-demographic variables such as gender and marital status, as well as psychological variables such as anxiety and fear of disease progression. Individualized psychosocial care should be recognized as essential, and personalized interventions should be integrated into the patient’s treatment plan.

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